American Lyric Theater (ALT) has announced that the application period for the 2011-2012 Composer Librettist Development Program (CLDP) is now open to eligible composers, librettists and playwrights. Program information and application details may be found online at www.altnyc.org. The application deadline is June 1, 2011.
The CLDP is a tuition-free initiative for emerging composers and librettists/playwrights selected through an open, competitive application process. The first full-time mentorship initiative for operatic writers in the United States, the CLDP runs from September to June annually, and includes a core curriculum of classroom training and hands-on workshops with some of the country's leading working artists, including composer/librettist Mark Adamo, composer Daniel Catán, composer Anthony Davis, dramaturg Cori Ellison, librettist Michael Korie, and stage director Rhoda Levine. In addition to ongoing classes and workshops, artists in the program take part in residency observerships at New York City Opera. Through this partnership, the CLDP is able to provide writers the opportunity to explore the process of mounting fully staged operatic productions. CLDP classes and workshops take place at OPERA America, the national service organization for opera, providing exceptional workshop facilities and additional opportunities for Resident Artists to expand their professional network.
The CLDP is designed to provide customized mentorship to artists from a wide variety of backgrounds. ALT's mandate includes mentoring artists with classical training, as well as those with non-traditional / non-classical backgrounds who have a passionate interest in writing for the opera stage. Based on the quality of applicants each year, ALT accepts up to eight artists to participate in year one of the Program. Selected artists are invited to continue their residency with ALT after their first year to receive private mentorship as they work towards developing full-length works.
"No one else is doing this," explained composer and librettist Mark Adamo, Director of Professional Development for ALT. "No masters program offers composers a major in the field. Aspiring librettists can study music-theatre writing on the graduate level, but their work will draw overwhelmingly from the commercial and non-profit theatre, leaving unexamined the substantial differences that remain between the theatre and the opera house. Only ALT is taking new opera as a serious and ongoing concern for writers; which means that only ALT is investing in the really new, as opposed to the merely chic. Only new work - a groundswell of it - can keep opera healthy. Only new writers - skilled new writers - can make new work. ALT wants to grow those writers. That's the Composer Librettist Development Program's goal: and it's as urgent as it is distinctive."
Lawrence Edelson, American Lyric Theater's founder and Producing Artistic Director added, "in developing ALT's programs, we took a hard look at what already exists in the field. We identified a real absence of integrated programs that provide an extended period of time for composers and librettists to collaborate and be immersed in an environment dedicated solely to their artistic development - to focus on skills and process as opposed to solely the end product - and, that also help to bridge the gap between training, workshops, and the realities of writing an opera for production at a professional producing company."
Applications are welcome from any emerging composer or librettist/playwright who is a U.S. Citizen or legal resident. Artists may apply individually to the program or as a member of a writing team. ALT defines an emerging opera Composer or Librettist as someone who has acquired significant skills as a composer and/or librettist (or playwright) through academic study, practice, and professional experience; who demonstrates a unique and important musical and/or theatrical perspective that could benefit from intense mentorship as part of the CLDP; and who has not yet had a work commissioned or performed by an OPERA America professional producing company. Their work in other genres may have been performed professionally, as ALT's definition of emerging applies specifically to an artist's development as a writer for the opera stage. Students of degree granting institutions are not eligible for consideration. There are no age restrictions for participation. The CLDP takes place in New York City, and residency in the metropolitan New York City area is required for the entire duration of the program.